cover image The Bloody Spur: A Caleb York Western

The Bloody Spur: A Caleb York Western

Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins. Kensington, $24 (226p) ISBN 978-1-61773-598-1

Spillane and Collins’s well-crafted third Caleb York western (after 2016’s The Big Showdown) finds the former Wells Fargo detective—now sheriff of Trinidad, N.Mex.—enjoying the peaceful benefits of being believed dead, but he soon has trouble on his hands. Ranch owner George Cullen is under pressure to let the Santa Fe Railway lay tracks through his land to link Trinidad with other towns, enriching all. Despite Caleb’s advice, George stubbornly refuses to make any deal. Meanwhile, contract killer Alver Hollis (aka the Preacherman) shows up, ostensibly to play in a poker tournament—but, when George is found outside of town murdered, Caleb wonders whether it was the work of the Preacherman. And might he have another victim in his sights? Regardless, the appealing Caleb—level-headed, wry, and tough when he needs to be—intends to honor his promise to George’s lovely daughter, Willa, to avenge his old friend. This posthumous collaboration is great fun, but fans of the early Spillane won’t find much evidence of his trademark style. (Feb.)